When Patricia Truel started her homemade cupcake business in 2009, it was primarily as a project to do at home with her son, John, who has Down syndrome. What started as a cozy side hustle, however, rapidly grew in demand: Truel would deliver home-baked cupcakes to customers local to her home near Columbus, OH, and by the fourth week of operation, she received an order for 48 dozen cupcakes. Truel quickly realized that she could grow the business and teach John some valuable skills all at the same time.
Now located in Marshfield, WI, Truel officially opened a shop, Cupcakes on 8th, on March 11, and John works short shifts after school — greeting customers, washing dishes, and running the register (keeping any tips he receives). He can also taste all the goodies his mom bakes up, with "peanut butter and cinnamon cupcakes" being his favorite treats, according to ABC News.
Patricia and John aim to hire more kids with special needs at Cupcakes on 8th to provide for them the same kinds of work skills and socializing opportunities that John has enjoyed. As Patricia told the Marshfield News-Herald, "It is good for John for math and counting and interaction. This is exciting for us." She even made John part owner in the company, saying, "It's a good way for him to feel important. I felt like, what better way for him to feel important than to be part owner?"